Alison Vargovich, PhD

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Graduate School, Degree(s): West Virginia University, Clinical Psychology, PhD

Residency(s): University of Florida/Shands Hospital, Gainesville

Fellowship:  Cleveland Clinic

Faculty Rank:  Assistant Professor

Special Clinical/Research Interests:   Health psychology; Chronic pain; Psychological processes involved in pain perception, development of chronic pain, and health outcomes; Dissemination of behavioral sciences research to healthcare professionals; Health communication and the doctor-patient relationship

Is there a particular population of students (e.g., ethnicity, spiritual, sexual orientation) that you would particularly like to advise?

All are welcome

What does a typical day in the life of a clinical health psychologist include?

A typical day as a clinical health psychologist can include outpatient evaluations or therapy, inpatient consults, teaching (both psychology and medical students), and research. There is a lot of variety, which keeps every day interesting, but regardless of what you are doing each day, interprofessional collaboration is a key part of it.

What is the biggest challenge of being a clinical health psychologist?

The biggest challenge is finding a balance between clinical work, teaching, and research that keeps patient care as a priority, but also allows you to accomplish professional goals. It is easy to get stuck in the day-to-day details, but it is so important to remember the bigger picture and to focus on how you can make a positive impact on as many people’s lives as possible, whether it be through students, patients, or the greater healthcare system.

How do you foresee psychology changing over the next 20 years?

Psychology will continue to become more integrated into the medical care system. Family Medicine in leading the way in this initiative, which results in greater patient satisfaction, improved clinical outcomes, and less healthcare spending. Other medical specialties are recognizing the value and importance of mental health care and in addressing psycho-social aspects of medical issues, which will lead to more psychologists and mental health professionals being included in healthcare visits.